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5 Mistakes Generation X Makes With Their Diets

08/21/2015 06:09 EDT | Updated 08/21/2016 05:59 EDT
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Millenials aren't the only ones with nutrition issues. With major life changes involving kids, finances, and jobs, Generation X is getting into a bit of nutritional hot water. This is how:

We pick things off our kids' plates

I've done this more times than I care to admit, because I'm human and a mother. It's really hard to be a parent, and especially at the very start, most people are struggling just to maintain their sanity. Good eating habits, exercise, and general upkeep fall by the wayside, and you've probably found yourself mindlessly picking at your kids' food. A bit of pasta here, and swipe through the hummus and crackers there, and a few months later you realize your pants are a bit tight. AGHHH!!! Stop right there!

Keep your hands to yourself, and either toss or refrigerate the leftovers that your kids leave. Don't eat their dinner, then eat another dinner later. It's adding up, and as we age, those pounds are harder and harder to shed.

Eating at regular intervals -- both snacks and meals -- will help a lot. Even when you're tired, grab a handful of nuts or a yogurt, both of which contain protein to satiate you and keep you from being handsy with the kids' food.

We care about other people more than we care for ourselves

Someone once called this the 'burnt toast phenomenon', because parents all too often will give their families the perfect toast pieces and keep the burned piece for themselves. Putting ourselves last is a parental phenomenon. I counter the burnt toast experience with the 'airplane oxygen mask emergency response', which is that you need to help yourself before you help others. I have heard many times from clients that they prepare their kids' and husband's lunches, but then my clients go to work and buy their lunches because they haven't taken the time to make themselves anything. What? Seriously? Another thing I hear a lot is one parent making supper for the kids, and then waiting to eat until their partner comes home from work. By the time my client eats supper, they're so starving from waiting, they end up eating far too much. Remember the line from Pretty Woman? Take care of you! Caring for yourself by taking the extra 2 minutes to make your lunch, or eating when you're hungry and not being a slave to another person's schedule, will benefit everyone. And it doesn't mean you don't care, it means that you understand that if you're not happy and healthy, the rest of the family won't be, either.

We're too busy to eat or to eat well

The culture of busyness is pervasive, and all too many times I hear clients complain that they go all day without eating because of it. Being busy is like a badge of honor, and unlike the young'un Millenials who snack a lot, Gen X tends to choose work over any food at all.

Shut the laptop, get off your butt, and go eat your lunch. You don't get a blue ribbon for being the busiest one at the office, but you'll be the least productive and most hangry, if you aren't eating all day.

We eat like our partners

When we shack up with our partner, it's a very exciting time. Shared closet space, the revealing of unsexy habits, and oops! Taking on your partner's bad eating behaviours! Even those of us who have been married for a while slip into this nasty habit. It's easy when you live on your own to whip up a healthy, well-proportioned dinner, but when your partner comes home wanting his favorite deep dish pizza three nights a week, something's gotta give, and it's usually the scale. Boooo.

I don't like to tell you to change your partner, because that's not really fair to the poor guy, but maybe you can keep the peace by making more veggie-based dinners, and stocking the kitchen with healthier stuff? Cuddling on the couch and eating ice cream together is fun, but when it becomes a nightly habit, it goes from cute to gross. Stop it.

We are mostly levelheaded about our diets, but we still fall for celebrity endorsements

As the years creep by, you start seeing bulges where there used to be no bulges. Take it from your favorite Gen X'er (that would be me), no matter how well you eat and how much you move, after you pass 30 and have a few kids, your body gets, um...okay, different? It's still beautiful, but some of us watch the changes and maybe we get a bit anxious about them (this hasn't happened to me at all, right!). That's where the weird diets come in. We like to think that at our age we won't fall for fads, but sometimes they appear too tempting to pass up. Don't do it! It's much better to increase your lean body mass by lifting weights, because that extra muscle that you gain will help you stay lean for years to come. And while you used to be able to down a pint of Haagen Dazs and have no ill effects, those days are over, honey. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we just can't get away with silliness like that at our age. Take the treats down just a notch by having them less often. Eat more plants and unprocessed foods, which are harder for your body to break down and absorb. And hey -- there's nothing more gorgeous than being strong, fit, and healthy, no matter what age. Got it, gorgeous?

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